12 Months of Makes

This year, I’ll be making 12 projects in 12 months. They’ll mostly involve circuits and coding, maybe costumes and cardboard. Some will be useful, some will be silly, all will be fun. Follow my progress with #12MonthsOfMakes on Twitter, or right here on Medium!

When I was a tiny young human, people would ask me what I wanted to become when I grew up. Back then, I thought the only jobs available were firefighter, doctor, lawyer, policeman, or inventor. I would say “I want to be an inventor!” even though I didn’t know what that meant, or if it was even a real job. I just knew that I liked to take toys apart and put them back together, and sometimes I would make something new out of it. Sometimes (ok, most times) I’d also end up breaking it, but that was part of the fun!

Then I grew up and became a software engineer instead. I’d forgotten my childish dream of making something out of other physical things. Instead, I was creating digital things out of other digital things. Still fun!

But then I became a developer advocate, and my genius coworker had a genius idea:

Genius coworker: “What if we made a hat that lights up whenever you get into an Uber ride?”

Me: “ 😮. I don’t know how to do that. Let’s do it.”

So I did.

This is a hat. A shark hat.

Meet Humphrey the Sharknicorn. It’s a shark with a 3D printed unicorn horn that lights up depending on the state of your Uber ride. It uses the Uber API to get notified if you just ordered a ride, and triggers different light animations depending on whether you just requested, or when the driver is about to arrive, or when you are in the middle of the ride. It was such a fun project, and I learned a ton about circuits, soldering and 3D printing. Plus, it’s the silliest thing to put on your head! Disclaimer: I did not make the shark hat itself.

Do not be alarmed! No heads or sharks were harmed in the taking of this photo.

This project really made me remember my forgotten childhood dream of inventing. There’s something so viscerally satisfying about holding something you created with your own hands. I’ve always liked crafting and making things, but to be able to put together my love of coding and my love of tinkering was just so giggle inducing. Look at how ridiculous my smile is in that photo.

And I realized that there are a lot of us out there that want to be creative with our code. I want to find more people who like to make things, and I want to be able to share this awesome bubbly happiness I feel over soldering irons while learning something new.

Therefore, I decided to make one project per month for the entire year. I’ve never done anything like this before, this is honestly quite daunting, so come with me on this journey. Let’s learn about the world of making together!